To say this has been a year of great change would understate my situation.

I started the year with a new job and will end it with yet another. The business venture that caused such pain and loss (and growth!) was dissolved in the winter. After much planning I married the love of my life in the summer, and then with almost no planning at all we moved our newly formed family across a continent and away from all we had known. I now find myself surrounded by the strange and unfamiliar.

We traded trees for mountains, apartment for house, stability for adventure. The old trappings of my life were replaced wholesale with the new furnishings of our life. Everything is different- the silverware, the appliances, the roads, scenery, and people. I had to fight to hang onto my old couches and coffee table. They may be worn and unfashionable, but they are loved and they are mine. An island of familiarity in a sea of change.

Sometimes it overwhelms me, this unknown landscape. I wake up in a stranger’s house and an unrecognized life. For a time I found myself paralyzed with anxiety, never able to fully relax and let my mind rest. Was I missing something important at work? Is there someone I meant to call or meet up with tonight? Were all the bills paid and animals fed and obligations met? Was that a passing look of unhappiness that just shadowed my newlywed’s face? Oh God, am I screwing this all up??

But then one stressful day I sat in my new living room, staring at my old coffee table. The drink trays were long gone, ruined by a rubbing alcohol experiment gone wrong. That one screw that always pokes out and makes the back leg lopsided is still doing its thing. As I pondered the frayed seams of its fake leather top I realized that this object is mine and it is familiar and it is loved, as am I.

I have now come to think of my coffee table as an object of power. Whenever the nervous voice in my head starts its litany of fear, I think of my living room and remember that I have a place to rest my drink (we bought new drink trays; they don’t match at all but they are mine). I have the big comfy couches where I have held my cherished one for years and where we continue to laugh or cry or dream as the moment demands. And I think of the old television set that has accumulated the burnt-in logos of our favorite channels over the blissful, difficult, beautiful years. Like beloved ghosts of times not quite past.

The anxiety subsides and I remember that this life is mine.